Field Test: Follow Evil – Stout, Stiff, & Snappy – Pinkbike

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bad tracking

Lyrics by Matt Beer; photography by Tom Richards
Evil Bikes has been known for its deep roots in the gravity side of mountain biking for some time, but its 120mm short-travel trail bike, the Follow, shouldn’t be overlooked, as it punches well above its rank.

All the design elements scream that this bike is clearly evil through and through; namely, the Dave Weagle-designed DELTA suspension system, compact rear triangle, massive head tube and monochromatic paint scheme. Distinguishing between models in the Evil line isn’t always straightforward, but the 130mm-travel RockShox Pike fork steers the next one toward the more pedal-focused consumer.

Evil following the details
• Travel: 120 mm at the rear / 130 mm at the fork
• Carbon frame
• 66.9º / 66.4º head angle
• Reach: 460 mm
• 76º / 75.5º seat tube angle
• Bases 430/432mm
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 14.38 kg / 28.75 lbs
• Price: $9,050

Evil sent us the mid-tier version, which isn’t exactly middle of the road price-wise – it’s $9,050 USD, to be exact. This XO1 Hydra parts kit includes SRAM X01 carbon cranks and Evil’s own Boomstick and Loophole carbon wheels. The carbon hoops are actually made in the USA from Fusion Fiber, and Evil also states that the rims are recyclable through the manufacturer as they use a different process than traditional carbon fiber as explained here.

There are subtle but smart part choices that prove why this isn’t your average downhill bike. Although we swapped out all the stock tires for a check set for all bikes, the next one came with Maxxis DHF EXO tires. The rear has been suitably reduced to a width of 2.3 inches; another nod from Evil that they want this bike to be able to handle a certain tempo when the pedals demand it. There’s also a large 200mm rotor up front to slow you down when pushing this bike to its limits. A 35mm high bar promotes a more playful approach to trail riding than a flatter option that lowers your body position toward the front wheel.

A big part of how the suite flows through flatter terrain is geometry. You might expect Evil to have slackened his trail bike’s head angle towards the downhill bike numbers, but he’s actually leaning towards the steeper side at 66.4 in the setting” X-Low”. Combined with a 460mm reach for the mid-size frame and stubby 430mm chainstays, the numbers surrounding the next one certainly make for a fast ride.

Despite its bold, chunky appearance, the 13 kg (28.75 lb) Follow doesn’t ride like a heavy bike by any means. Does it have the ability to get up and go compared to something like the Allied BC40? Definitely not. Next up, on the other hand, is a bike that can make appearances in a bike park or cross jump lines without feeling like a wet noodle under you.

Trailforks regions where we tested

Bustling with activity, the beautifully constructed and well-stocked headquarters of the Sentiers du Moulins trail system was just one of the networks we explored on Evil Follow. Filled with long exposed bedrock, a healthy dose of machine-made and naturally flowing technical trails, this area surprised us with all the hidden gems on either side of the valley.

To go along with the flicky nature of the sequel, a cruise on the blue track, Maelstrom, featured tons of berms and rolls to find ambitious beats. At the back of Mont Tourbillon you will find almost 200m of descent on the infamous “Slab City” trail which mostly straddles a sheet of granite that hides just under the mossy carpet of the forest. There was plenty of action between the high-speed jump sections and the rolling Canadian Shield for what followed.

Mountain bike trails Sentiers du Moulin


Next up has to be one of the most unique climbing bikes I have ridden to date. Out of the saddle, there’s a good amount of support from the suspension when jumping on the pedals or pushing into the bike to rush over a ledge. However, the seating position left me scratching my head: tall bars, short chainstays and a slack seat tube angle.

Although sitting on the rear axle provides traction, the short rear center makes it prone to front-wheel lift on steep climbs or steep climbs. The 35mm rise bars didn’t help how far you sat in the saddle, and in order to combat the upright but slightly cramped position, we lowered them after the first shakedown (more on those later).

Reach is the most important number to look at for downward body position, but top tube length plays a more crucial role in how a bike climbs while seated. Seat and head tube angles of 75.5 and 66.4 degrees distribute space between saddle and handlebars, placing weight nicely on the rear wheel, but barely enough weight forward. Typically on a bike with these angles you’ll find a 60mm or longer stem to slow the steering down, but the next one was fitted with Evil’s own 45mm-length 12-gauge unit.

Going to a longer stem and low bars would definitely slow the steering and shift the rider’s weight forward, but I’d be afraid of losing some of the positive traits of the next one when it was steered down. Another option would be to dimension; something that was suggested to maximize gravity-fed track bits too.


Part of the beauty in this little trail weapon is that it turns even the most basic singletrack into a feature-packed ride. I would stick my neck out and call it the freerider’s cross-country bike. It’s beefy, steep and gripping.

All Evil bikes look the same, don’t they? Side by side, there are subtle differences. The tube diameters in the following figure are slimmer than its enduro sibling. Combined with a healthy dose of progression in the 120mm of rear wheel travel, the frame never winced once. At the other end of the stroke, grip through the single-pivot DELTA suspension provided exceptional grip over rooted cambers and through slimy rock gardens. The Evil was pushed the hardest on the jump tracks as it always demanded more. There was just enough of everything from the setting and its cinematics; not too soggy and not too dry – Goldilocks approved.

You need to pay attention to the direction at high speed. As mentioned in the climbing part, the handling is quick and keeps you on your toes. It’s crucial to keep in mind the weight placed on the front wheel, as it feels like it could bend over and bite.

One item we all agreed to change immediately, if it was our own bike, was the handlebars. Evil states that their Boomstick carbon bars have a 9º backsweep and 5º upsweep. Whoever they are, we could never find a comfortable balance with them.

Getting the Follow off the ground is never a chore, and the short 430mm chainstays pop up on command. Coupled with that 66.4-degree head tube angle, the downside to the geometry is high-speed stability. In order to combat this knife-point manipulation, installing a headset to reduce the head tube angle by one degree could be a way to tune the steering dynamics.

There’s not much forgiveness through rubble washes or dusty berms, but again, none of the other bikes in the test were as “fun” as the next.

#Field #Test #Follow #Evil #Stout #Stiff #Snappy #Pinkbike

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